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Organizational Knowledge Requirements - Meeting ISO 9001:2015 Clause 7.1.6

#1
Organizational knowledge is one of the new and very vague requirements in ISO 9001:2015. I've seen essentially two approaches suggested for meeting the requirement: either very extensive knowledge management (which seems overboard for a new and relatively small requirement) or trying to justify that this clause is already met based on what was already being done to meet ISO 9001:2008 requirements (which would be redundant and probably doesn't meet the requirement).

Can anyone give practical suggestions and/or examples for meeting the organizational knowledge requirements in ISO 9001:2015 without an excessive new knowledge management scheme?
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Admin
#2
Re: ISO 9001:2015 7.1.6 Organizational Knowledge

Not exactly what you are looking for, but, maybe, reading what the ISO TC 176 APG is proposing from an auditing perspective might give you an insight on what to do, from an implementation's perspective. If you click on this link, you will download the paper on recommendations on how to audit the organizational knowledge requirements of 9001:2015


 

Colin

Quite Involved in Discussions
#3
Re: ISO 9001:2015 7.1.6 Organizational Knowledge

I look on this as succession planning. If an organisation has a key role for which there is only 1 person capable of filling, it is a risk to the organisation (see 6.1). There may be a number of ways to reduce the risk such as training up someone else, finding an external provider, changing the method, etc.

A way to demonstrate that this has been considered and managed is by using a responsibility matrix. Similar to (in fact it could be an extension of) a competence matrix but with the emphasis on identifying who can fill which roles (see clause 5.3 for roles and responsibilities).

The method used would depend on the size and complexity of the organisation and the levels of risk involved. If it is a small organisation, it could be done all on 1 spreadsheet. In larger organisations it is probably best to do it by department or process.
 
J

JoShmo

#4
Re: Meeting ISO 9001:2015 7.1.6 Organizational Knowledge Requirements

It would help to knwo the context of the organization. Organizational Knowledge isn;t vague. It's pretty clear. To give you a suitable answer, you have to tell us what your do. If you work for NASA, where DO you find rocket scientists? JPL? If your some mom and pop machine shop, machinists can be found if you put a sign outside and they bring their knowledge. Which is it?
 
#5
Re: Meeting ISO 9001:2015 7.1.6 Organizational Knowledge Requirements

It is critical to realize that documented information isn't attached to this element. Documented information need not be maintained (a document created) or retained (record kept).

Thank whatever higher power you believe in that documented information is not attached. It would be a massive boondoggle.
 
#6
Re: Meeting ISO 9001:2015 7.1.6 Organizational Knowledge Requirements

Thanks all for the responses so far. The short context of the organization is mid-sized manufacturing with design.

I think that many auditors will want procedures and/or records specific to organizational knowledge, but as Big Jim mentioned, "Documented information need not be maintained (a document created) or retained (record kept)." The downsides that I see to creating a procedure or matrix for organizational knowledge are the significant work involved in setting it up and maintaining it, and the risk of non-conformance for not following it or keeping it up-to-date perfectly.

I'd prefer to meet the requirements without creating a new procedure or new records. Big Jim (or anyone else), do you have any suggestions for how to achieve this?
 
#7
Re: Meeting ISO 9001:2015 7.1.6 Organizational Knowledge Requirements

As evidence of adequate organizational knowledge I would point to your Quality Objective / KPI results. If the numbers are stellar, and they should be if your system is working well with appropriate levels of knowledge, that is evidence that you have determined what you need to know, applied it, and maintained it.
 

Great Scotch

Starting to get Involved
#8
Re: Meeting ISO 9001:2015 7.1.6 Organizational Knowledge Requirements

Organizational knowledge is one of the new and very vague requirements in ISO 9001:2015. I've seen essentially two approaches suggested for meeting the requirement: either very extensive knowledge management (which seems overboard for a new and relatively small requirement) or trying to justify that this clause is already met based on what was already being done to meet ISO 9001:2008 requirements (which would be redundant and probably doesn't meet the requirement).

Can anyone give practical suggestions and/or examples for meeting the organizational knowledge requirements in ISO 9001:2015 without an excessive new knowledge management scheme?
A very simple way of seeing it:
Don't allow knowledge and competence to be disconnected by the departure of your existing staff whether he's gone permanently or transferred out temporarily. Make sure that knowledge is centrally stored for dissemination to whoever sits in that post.

You can prepare work instructions, standing orders, operating manuals, training courses etc to ensure that.
 

somashekar

Staff member
Super Moderator
#9
Re: Meeting ISO 9001:2015 7.1.6 Organizational Knowledge Requirements

Always have some people in your organization who can stand up and say or talk about WHY a particular things is being done in a specific way. This perhaps is the simplest practical suggestion.....
 

RoxaneB

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#10
Re: Meeting ISO 9001:2015 7.1.6 Organizational Knowledge Requirements

As evidence of adequate organizational knowledge I would point to your Quality Objective / KPI results. If the numbers are stellar, and they should be if your system is working well with appropriate levels of knowledge, that is evidence that you have determined what you need to know, applied it, and maintained it.
KPI results that are achieved desired/expected targets is only part of a successful process. HOW they were achieved is the other part...the practices/activities in place.

Process = KPI + Practices ... at least, this is the "formula" I use.

If a company has defined and consistently applied practices AND is achieving the desired results...yay! Life is good.

If a company has defined and consistently applied practices BUT is not achieving the desired results, it's time for a discussion.

If a company has no defined practices or practices that are inconsistently applied BUT is achieving the desired results, it's time for a discussion.

If a company has no defined practices or practices that are inconsistently applied AND is not achieve the desired results...we really need to have a talk.

What if results are achieved because one person has the knowledge to correct/prevent issues (i.e., that experienced employee) before it becomes something major or high risk? How many of us know at least one person in the organization who has more information/experience in their little finger than the rest of the department's combined brain power? How do you capture that knowledge? What happens if that person wins the lottery or retires?

I agree that not everything needs to be defined or documented, but organizations should also consider the risk of NOT documenting knowledge or finding some way to capture and harness it for ongoing, consistent use.
 
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